Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: "Archon," by Sabrina Benulis

In her debut novel, “Archon” ($14.99, Harper Voyager), Sabrina Benulis offers up an intriguing idea, but the execution leaves me with mixed feelings.

Angela Mathers is a troubled child. Obsessed with angels, Angela has a death wish that she seems unable to accomplish, no matter how she tries. Knives won’t penetrate to her vitals, guns misfire. She’s even tried to burn herself, which ended with the deaths of her parents and severe scarring to her body, but she survived. Now, she’s gotten out of an asylum after that incident and has been enrolled in West Wood, an academy run by the Vatican on the island of Luz. She’s been accepted both because of her artwork of angels and the fact that she’s a bloodhead, a term originating from a prophecy that says a redhead will become the Archon, referred to by most as the Ruin, who will challenge the devil for the throne of Hell.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: "The Merciless Book of Metal Lists" by Howie Abrams and Sacha Jenkins

I think there’s something innate in music fans that drives them to want to make lists. And then, of course, to argue about those lists to the death.

With "The Merciless Book of Metal Lists" ($18.95, Abrams Books), Howie Abrams and Sacha Jenkins take it to a new level. After a foreword by Slayer’s Kerry King (which is really more of a Q&A, actually), they jump right into all of the obligatory lists — best metal bands, best guitarist, best singer, best drummer, best bassist and so on.

Sure, those are fun to agree or disagree with, but it’s the other pieces of the book that actually make it so entertaining. It’s quite possible that even the hardcore metalhead might find something to explore in some of the lists where they play it straight.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Review: "My Life as a White Trash Zombie," by Diana Rowland

I probably would not have picked up Diana Rowland’s “My Life as a White Trash Zombie” ($7.99, DAW) if not for a recommendation from one of my other recent favorite discoveries, Kevin Hearne. It didn’t seem like something that would normally appeal to me, but I’m glad I gave it a shot, as it was great fun.

Angel Crawford comes from a seriously broken home. Her father gave up her mentally ill mother to protect her, while he descended into alcoholism and she became a junkie. When Angel wakes up in the hospital, she has no idea what has happened, but begins to piece it together. She was found naked on the side of the road by police, with a cocktail of drugs in her system. Now, though, she seems to have a mysterious benefactor. Before she leaves the hospital, she gets a note informing her that she now has a job as a van driver for the coroner’s office, and that if she doesn’t want to go to jail, she has to keep it for 30 days. Along with the note are bottles of a strange liquid that she’s instructed to drink.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Random Rants: Rage of Thrones

OK, this is a little off-kilter for my usual material here, but I absolutely loved it, and I'm sure a few of my four readers (that's right, added one) can relate.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Review: "And Blue Skies from Pain" by Stina Leicht

I thought Stina Leicht’s opening book of the Fey and the Fallen, “Of Blood and Honey,” showed a lot of promise. The second book, “And Blue Skies from Pain” ($14.99, Nightshade Books ), though delivers exactly what I hoped it would.

With the background of the story and the political volatility of 1970s Ireland established in the first book, this one gets down to the business of the supernatural war. Liam Kelly, after discovering he is half-fey in the first book, has submitted to be tested by the Catholic Church to prove that he is human and stop the church’s violence against the fey. For ages, the militant arm of the church, charged with hunting down and destroying fallen angels, has made no distinction between the fallen and the fey. Now, at the urging of Liam’s friend Father Joseph Murray, the church has called an uneasy truce until it can be determined whether the two are different.

Naturally, there are elements in the church that don’t want it proven that the fey are not fallen angels. It’s an uncomfortable question for the best among the warrior priests and a downright onerous thought for many who have spent their lives cruelly executing what they thought were evil beings.